סגן אלוף מחמוד חיר א-דין
Mahmoud Kehir el-Din
Photo: IDF
Druze rally against Nation-State Law in 2018

Israel's Druze renew calls to amend controversial Nation State Law

Druze advocates, backed by Liberman and Lapid, say supporting community only in words not enough and change to contentious bill is due, after IDF revealed identity of Druze special op's commander killed in botched 2018 Gaza operation

Daniel Salami |
Published: 05.15.22, 15:29
The Druze community and some Israeli politicians on Sunday renewed calls to amend the controversial Nation-State Law, which they say discriminates against the non-Jewish citizens of Israel.
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  • The government passed the Nation-State Law in 2018 amid criticism that it targets Israel's Arab-speaking minority. The law defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and strips the Arabic language from its status as an official language alongside Hebrew, defining it as a "special status" language instead.
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    הפגנה נגד חוק הלאום בכיכר רבין
    הפגנה נגד חוק הלאום בכיכר רבין
    Druze rally against Nation-State Law in 2018
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    The calls from community leaders shortly after the IDF revealed the identity of special op's commander Mahmoud Kehir el-Din from the Druze village of Hurfeish, who died in a botched intelligence operation in Gaza four years ago.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed him as a hero who dedicated his life to the security of Israel.
    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said it was the time for legislators from all sides of the political spectrum to consider amending the controversial legislation.
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    סגן אלוף מחמוד חיר א-דין
    סגן אלוף מחמוד חיר א-דין
    Mahmoud Kehir el-Din
    (Photo: IDF)
    "There is a distinct gap between the Nation-State Law as it was passed, and the praise given to the heroic Mahmoud Kehir el-Din, may he rest in peace," Liberman said.
    "This is the opportunity to amend the law and make the Declaration of Independence part of the Basic Law. I call on the coalition and opposition alike to reconsider their position on the Druze community beyond naming them 'brothers in arms,' and to do the right thing."
    The Declaration of Independence is Israel's founding document and details the character of the state as envisioned by its founders, including full civil equality. However, the document has no binding legal status.
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid later retweeted Liberman's post, adding he agrees "with every word".
    On social media, Druze citizens called on Liberman to take action to change the law, which they say is offensive to the community that has traditionally served in Israel's armed forces.
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    אביגדור ליברמן
    אביגדור ליברמן
    Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman
    (Photo: Kobi Koanks)
    On Sunday, Druze religious leader Sheikh Moafaq Tarif called on all Knesset factions to act together to amend the law based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
    "I would like to believe and hope that elected leaders on the right, left and center, will rise above their differences to heal an open wound," he said.
    Blue & White faction chair MK Eitan Ginzburg said a bill to make the Declaration of Independence into a Basic Law can be ready for a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation as early as Sunday.
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